Hannity, the Hard-hearted Hypocrite
Why is Hannity a Hypocrite?
Sean Hannity, co-host of the Fox News talk show "Hannity &
Colmes," doesn't even make a pretense of applying the oxymoron
"compassionate conservative" to himself.
One or two
viewings of the program make it obvious that any compassion for -- and
desire to help -- those less fortunate than himself that Hannity might
otherwise feel, is overwhelmed by the harsh ideological prism through which
Hannity views the world.
examples are countless, a few recent episodes stand out.
Hannity on Health Insurance
discussing the national shame of over 30 million people without health
insurance, Hannity gets all agitated and starts complaining that he doesn't
want to hear about that, it's a distortion, it's misleading. Where are the
people dying in the street? There are none. All these people have access to
emergency room care. So, Hannity triumphantly concludes, saying they lack
health insurance is meaningless.
Hello? First of
all, claiming people lack health insurance is not claiming that they are
therefore dying in the street. The false assumption and straw man that
Hannity sets up and then destroys is just a typical right wing tactic to
obscure the real issue.
The real issue
is that without health insurance, tens of millions of Americans have to
forego medical care until their condition is so bad that an emergency
room visit is required. Moreover, without health insurance, the uninsured
forego a myriad of preventive tests and procedures designed to catch disease
early and enable effective treatment: annual check-ups for children and
adults, breast cancer x-rays, colonoscopies, tests for diabetes, etc. Deaths
without health insurance inevitably forego visits to health professionals
for lesser ailments. If left professionally untreated, these ailments won't
kill the uninsured, but failing to treat these ailments causes much needless
pain and suffering.
In short: if
someone isn't dropping dead in the street, then that's good enough for
Hannity on a Living Wage
of Hannity's hard-heartedness is his take on the living wage issue.
proclaims that he's sorry, but these people had choices in life. They didn't
choose to get an education and better themselves, so they have only
themselves to blame that they are in low-paying jobs. It's the result of
their own free choices in life that they can't now feed their kids.
Huh? Hannity is
begging the question big time. If these people had gone to school and gotten
higher-paying jobs, then someone else would be in the sub-living wage
job. The issue is, should anyone work a full 40 hour week and not be
able to feed their children -- let alone work two full-time jobs and still
come up short of money for life's necessities.
does Hannity assume that everyone could have pursued more schooling and
landed higher-paying jobs? Some people don't have the intellectual ability
to do so, others may have been frustrated by life circumstances beyond their
control. And even if they, to use Hannity's argument, chose not to,
that does not, by any stretch of logic -- let alone application of a
minimal level of compassion -- lead to the conclusion that it's appropriate
for them to be paid less than a subsistence-level wage.
And of course,
we're talking about this issue in the context of the richest nation the
world has ever known.
A final example
of Hannity's egregious lack of concern for the suffering of others is his
reaction to the recent tragedy on the Mexican border. Fourteen Mexican
citizens seeking to enter the United States without proper papers died of
thirst in the desert. What a horrible death, being baked alive in 115 degree
heat. The normal human reaction would be to express horror at their fate,
and wonder how such tragedies can be avoided in the future.
The hard-hearted one had a different reaction. After
paying a second of lip-service to the tragedy by stating he doesn't want
anyone to die, Hannity then went on to badger his guest about what Hannity
said really concerned him: would the guest join him in supporting the return
to Mexico of any such people found alive!
On this whole
issue of immigration, Hannity has a curiously self-serving attitude. A guest
once asked Hannity how he could square his fixation about returning
undocumented immigrants to Mexico, with the fact that Hannity's own Irish
ancestors may well have come to the United States during the Irish Potato
Famine to escape hunger and suffering in their homeland.
Hannity had no
problem at all with that question, explaining that his ancestors entered
The guest missed
the obvious follow-up: well, if the "legality" of the entry is the
be-all and end-all of the analysis, then if Hannity's forebears had arrived
after the Irish quota that year had been filled, would Hannity have
supported sending them back to starvation in Ireland?
risk their life walking through vast stretches of desert are coming here for
the same reason as did Hannity's ancestors -- so they can feed their
families. These Mexicans are not coming here because in Mexico they own an
old Honda Civic, and they want to make more money here so they can buy a
late-model Mercedes. No, it's an issue of survival.
Malnutrition, hunger and hunger-related deaths are endemic in Mexico, and
that is what drives so many of these impoverished people to seek refuge and
work here, often so they can send back money to their hungry families in
But, as Hannity
would argue, they're "illegal," so let's ship 'em all back.
Hannity & Matthew 25:31-46
Hannity often states that he is a devout Catholic. With all due respect, someone needs to ask him
whether his copy of the Bible has Matthew 25:31-46 torn out of it.
A brief summary
of the full text of this passage would be: on Judgment Day, humanity will be
divided into two groups. Jesus will tell one group they are going to Heaven
because when Jesus was hungry they fed him; when he was thirsty they gave
him drink; when he was a stranger they welcomed him; when he was sick they
visited him; and so on. The group asks when did they feed Jesus, or give him
drink, or welcome him, or visit him when he was sick, etc. Jesus replies
"as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to
Then Jesus will
tell the other group they are going to Hell because they did not feed him
when he was hungry, give him drink when he was thirsty, welcome him when he
was a stranger, visit him when he was sick, etc. This group asks Jesus when
was it that they failed to minister to him. Jesus replies "as you did
it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me." [More
on Matthew 25 ]
Hannity's Bible did not have these pages torn out. Maybe Hannity has a
special unabridged version of the Bible which contains heretofore unknown
modifications to Matthew 25:31-46.
What we can call
the "Hannity exception clauses" perhaps provide that the sick must
be ministered to "but only when such sick person is at a level of
distress requiring emergency room care;" that the stranger must be
welcomed "except when said stranger lacks proper immigration
papers;" and of course, the catch-all Hannity exception clause:
"and all such requirements to minister to those in need shall not apply
when the neediness of said individuals is the result of their choices in
life, including their failure to secure a more advanced level of
education." [Is there a reserved spot
in Hell with Hannity's name on it?]
is Hannity a Hypocrite?
One of Hannity's
most repeated mantras is how Bill Clinton, by having an affair with Monica
Lewinsky, disgraced himself and sullied the dignity of the Oval Office. Fair
enough, although perhaps not still worthy of repeating ad nauseam.
contrast is how Hannity warmly embraces and expresses deep respect for the
likes of Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston, political commentators on Hannity
& Colmes. Hannity turns a blind eye to the equal, if not worse
indiscretions of these two Fox co-employees.
At the same time
that Gingrich was blasting Clinton for his dalliance with Lewinsky, Gingrich
was having a much more serious affair with a young Congressional aide. The
affair was serious, indeed: Gingrich divorced his second wife and married
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives at the time. As such, he was
second in line for the Presidency. Quite a high and mighty office, yet
Hannity apparently doesn't feel that Gingrich's behavior disgraced Gingrich
and sullied the dignity of that office.
Of course, one
could also mention the cruel treatment Gingrich reportedly subjected his
first wife to: insisting that she discuss terms of the divorce he was
seeking while she was in her hospital bed recovering from cancer
that Gingrich's serial marriage lifestyle itself doesn't also come under
fire from Hannity, a professedly devout Catholic who one would expect to
look down upon divorce.
was elected Speaker of the House, but never took office. He chose to
resign that position, as well as his seat in the House, when his own
extramarital affairs were disclosed.
It's true that
Clinton lied under oath about his affair, while Gingrich and Livingston did
not. However, it is the moral aspect of Clinton's conduct that Hannity
Could it be that
Hannity incessantly criticizes Bill Clinton, while ignoring equal if not
worse immorality by Gingrich and Livingston, because of
Hannity's ideological affinity with the latter two adulterers?
and hypocritical, that just about sums up Sean Hannity.
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You can tell Hannity
what you think of him at firstname.lastname@example.org One idea would be to copy the
web address of this article, send it to Hannity and tell him you agree with
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HUMOROUS HANNITY UPDATE:
On July 9, in a segment on
the Gary Condit scandal, Hannity moralized that the President as well as
Congressmen need to "leave the young interns alone." Was Hannity
forgetting that his next guest was Newt Gingrich, adulterer and
Congressional aide affair veteran?
Certainly, one assumed,
Hannity would steer clear of the subject of Condit while interviewing
Gingrich. So a great many viewers' jaws must have dropped when right off the
bat, Hannity asked Gingrich for his take on the Condit situation.
Wouldn't it have been a treat
had Gingrich responded, "Well, you know Sean, in my personal experience
with having an affair with a young government worker..."
In reality, Gingrich at least
knew enough to finesse his answer, and to avoid any self-righteous
Could Hannity be so
dense as to be unaware of the hilarity involved in asking Newt Gingrich to
evaluate Gary Condit's behavior?